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A stadium filled with Dota fans cheers as Team Spirit wins The International 2023.
Photo via Valve

TI 2023 marks another steep viewership decline for Dota 2’s most prestigious event

Another year, another drop in viewership.

For all the positive feedback the Dota 2 community is giving over this year’s edition of The International, the event’s viewership has fallen for its third-straight year—and definitely isn’t keeping up with arch-rival League of Legends.

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While TI 2023 almost tripled that of Dota 2’s next-most-viewed tournament at the Riyadh Masters back in July, the numbers pale in comparison to previous iterations of The International, according to an Oct. 30 Esports Charts report.

TI’s fall from grace continues with the event only fifth for median viewership so far in 2023, landing 541,240 average viewers across the tournament. It only narrowly beat out VALORANT’s LOCK//IN São Paulo and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s last Major in Paris, while surprise packet Mobile Legends saw numerous Southeast Asian events far outpace TI 2023 for viewership.

An image of viewership statistics for The International, Dota 2's biggest annual tournament.
2023 couldn’t keep up with past editions of TI. Image via Esports Charts

League’s Worlds 2023 leads the list by a fairly significant margin, thanks in part to the successful launch of the Swiss stage format. With the event’s best-of-five playoffs beginning this week, we should see this figure rise even further despite any timezone difficulties—something TI accounted for this year with its return home to Seattle.

This was also the first time the pinnacle Dota 2 tournament tested a new format. 2022’s edition may have been split over a fortnight, but this year’s TI broke the tournament across three weekends with multiple stages.

Regardless, the event recorded similar broadcast hours to its predecessor.

There are several factors at play here, with the decision to remove TI’s battle pass and reinstate the Compendium chiefly ahead of the others. Dota players who stuck around for TI to partake in the many activities and earn cool cosmetics via the battle pass couldn’t do so thanks to its removal, likely impacting interest in the event.

The dwindling prize pool also played a part, with an incredible 83 percent drop in rewards—an effect of the removed battle pass. Where teams used to play for tens of millions of dollars at TI, 2023’s champs Team Spirit walked away with a paltry $1,431,088 USD.

While the prestige of The International cannot be questioned, with the removal of the Dota Pro Circuit and the rise of rival events offering huge prizes, the question must be asked: what will it take to see a rise in Dota 2 TI viewership again?

The simple answer would be to reinstate the battle pass and give Dota 2 players what they want and have been calling for, but it’s precisely the side-effects of the pass’ recent removal—constant updates and events throughout the calendar year as opposed to a single event at TI—that players are waiting to see delivered.

Time will tell whether Valve will stick to its promise around Dota 2 updates, or whether TI’s true recovery rests with a battle-pass-like product in the future.


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Author
Image of Nicholas Taifalos
Nicholas Taifalos
Weekend editor for Dot Esports. Nick, better known as Taffy, began his esports career in commentary, switching to journalism with a focus on Oceanic esports, particularly Counter-Strike and Dota. Email: nicholas@dotesports.com